The Comeback Kids!
Women’s Field Hockey Makes Oberlin History

by Yvonne Gay Fowler

Photo courtesy of Deb Ranieri

The women’s field hockey team made Oberlin College history in November, capturing Oberlin’s first ever North Coast Atlantic Conference tournament championship after a 3-0 shutout against The College of Wooster. The Yeowomen earned an invitation to the NCAA championships and defeated Lebanon Valley College 1-0 in the opening round—a feat unattained by many first-time tournament teams. Oberlin was defeated in the second round of play by Salisbury University, which went on to win its third-straight NCAA championship. The Yeowomen ended the season 16-5.

“We did everything right,” says Head Coach Deb Ranieri. “Our players played with heart. A lot of teams get to the tournament and lose the first game. Our players now realize they deserve to be in this position, and that they can win it all.”

Molding a championship team is nothing new for Ranieri. Before coming to Oberlin in 2002, she helped lead the Susquehanna University women’s lacrosse team to its first conference title, and she served as assistant coach at the College of New Jersey when the women’s lacrosse and field hockey teams captured national titles. “I’ve always felt that Oberlin’s field hockey team could win the division,” she says. “The hard part was getting us to where we are today. Four years is a short period of time to turn a program around.”

Senior tri-captain Becky Schugar joined the team three years ago, when it had just 11 players. “When I met my roommate, the first thing out of my mouth—before even saying hello—was ‘do you play field hockey?’” she laughs. Coming to Oberlin from a winning team at Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, Schugar learned the first order of business was to recruit players. The next three years would be a climb of increasingly successful seasons that culminated with the team’s incredible finish in November.

“Winning was a blur,” says Schugar. “It was kind of unreal, but we knew this was going to be the year.” Many teammates credit their success to a voluntary conditioning program last summer. “When the women returned in the fall, they were more fit than many of their opponents,” Ranieri says. That translated into fewer injuries and a higher level of play.

The honors continued for the team when seven players were named to the all-conference team and five earned all-region recognition. Top honors went to team tri-captain Meg Reitz ’06, who was named to the 2005 NFHCA All-American Second Team, the Great Lakes All-Region Team, and the All-NCAC First Team; tri-captain Rosemary Mudry ’06, who was named NCAC Defensive Player of the Year; Abigail Brox ’09, named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year, and Ranieri, who was was named Division III Regional Coach of the Year. Thirteen players are expected to return next season. ATS


Hadley Iliff ’09 with parents Steve Iliff and Rebecca Adams.
Photo by Yvonne Gay Fowler

Parental Approval: “This is her last class,” said Franne Kamhi ’08, whose mom, Beth Aydelott, slid into a chair in a crowded biology lecture and glanced at a handout placed between them. An event-packed Parents Weekend in November encouraged parents to choose from 45-plus lectures, tours, and meals; also high on the “must-do” list were class visitations—both with and without one’s own kids. “My son told me I should check this out,” said Somell Richards, who sat in on a Japanese prints course at the Allen Memorial Art Museum while her son, Zenith Richards ’09, attended class across campus. “Oberlin parents want to learn while they are here; they want to be interactive,” said weekend co-coordinator Christopher Baymiller ’71. Months of planning go into Parents Weekend, he said, and suggestions by parents are always encouraged. This year’s crowd exceeded 500.

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